As people start their New Year, they’re so excited about their new projects. However, it doesn’t take long before their pace starts to slow. They try to keep pushing through, thinking they can’t afford to take time off. Some people even hate to take time off, because it ultimately increases their workload. Can you relate to that?To keep your expectations more realistic and sustainable, I suggest you schedule in regular Wellness Weekends that refresh yourself, allow you to check in with your progress, and give you the energy to keep going. Here are some suggestions for what you can do:
Take power picnics. Pack brain-health foods, walk to someplace quiet and journal about what you’ve accomplished, what you hope to accomplish and how you’re going to do it. Physical activity in the great outdoors, healthful fuel for your brain, and serene reflection all spark creativity. This really recharges your batteries.
Do it! What part of your self-care have you been putting off? The act of putting something off creates stress in your brain, because it’s always there in the background. Now’s the time to act! Reading a good book, picking up a paint brush, or getting your skis out of the closet may just be the ticket to your weekend adventure.
Disconnect from all electronic devices. Turn off the noise so you can think without distractions.
Cooking with your family. This can be a happy, healthy bonding time. If you’ve never prepared a meal with your family before, be patient and don’t get too uptight. Put on some tunes, find a good recipe, and give it a try!
Create a bedroom spa experience. Pretend you’re at an expensive salon, turn off the phones, light some candles, set out your finest robe, take a relaxing bath, and go to bed early for a quality night’s sleep. If you have a partner, offer to give a massage one night in return for a massage the next.
Ignite your joy. Increase dopamine naturally by engaging in meaningful and beneficial activities. Play with your loved ones. Volunteer to help an elderly neighbor.
Challenge yourself physically. If you want to keep your brain healthy, exercise! Don’t compare yourself to anyone else but yourself. Look for ways to incrementally increase the intensity and duration of your exercise. If you walk ½ mile today, walk ¾ mile tomorrow. If you walk on level ground, find a hill. Walk for 15 extra minutes. Just keep finding ways to challenge yourself to do more. Try something new, like rowing a boat or taking a dance class.
Take a walk down Memory Lane. If it’s been a while since you worked on a scrapbook or photo album, the weekend is a perfect time to preserve and reconnect with your life.
Why not make a pact with yourself and with me right now to schedule at least four Wellness Weekends this year. Come over to my Facebook Page and tell me when you’re going to take them and what you’re going to do.